I liked want I knew of Richardson. Sorry to see him go...
The GOP debate Thursday night was more animated than the early debates back last year. I learned that:
1.) John McCain thinks that some of the jobs that have left Michigan are gone forever. Mitt Romney thinks he's wrong. So what does that mean? McCain thinks we should help displaced workers retrain and that we're going to have to find new jobs (probably new types of jobs) to replace the ones that have moved or disappeared. Romney thinks we can get auto jobs and textile mill jobs back (that's what it sounds like to me).
2.) Fred Thompson wants to fight about who gets to claim the Reagan model. He called Mike Huckabee a very nasty name: liberal.
3.) Rudy Giuliani wants people to think that he has been as strong a supporter of the Iraq War as John McCain. John McCain says Giuliani's wrong.
4.) And Ron Paul is worried that the recent incident where the U.S. Navy was confronted by "aggressive Iranian speedboats" in the Strait of Hormuz could be used to justify expanding the war in the Gulf; he compared it to the Gulf of Tonkin Incident in 1964 that expanded the Vietnam War.
So in case you've lost track, the Democratic Party has five candidates left: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich, and Mike Gravel.
Hillary is the Democratic front runner. Or maybe Obama is, it's hard to tell. Edwards is still in it (for now). Kucinich is still irritating. And Mike Gravel's time off should end about next weekend.
Technically, there are eight Republicans still running for that party's nomination. In alphabetical order (by first name) they are: Alan Keyes, Duncan Hunter, Fred Thompson, John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul, Rudy Giuliani, and Willard "Mitt" Romney.
Huckabee is the front runner; at least he was for a few minutes last week. Maybe McCain is now, but that depends on what state you're in and which poll you read.
Of course, we all know after New Hampshire how accurate polls are; Obama was supposed to win by 10% to 15% of the vote there and lost instead.
Romney wants to be the front runner; if he wins Michigan on Tuesday, he might be the front runner. And if he doesn't, he's toast. Giuliani thinks he's the front runner, but he hasn't actually run for anything yet - at least not in a state where delegates have been at stake already. Fred Thompson is not the front runner and probably will never be. Ron Paul is mostly a potential spoiler, but is still around. And Duncan Hunter is just Duncan Hunter.
There are other candidates. The Libertarian party has eight people trying to get their nomination. Ron Paul was on the ballot in 1988 (I think) as the Libertarian candidate and got one half of one percent of the national vote in the November election. The Green Party has five people looking for its nomination, including former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, from Georgia. The Constitution Party has three. The Socialist Party and the Socialist Workers Party both have named candidates already. The Unity08 Party is thinking about nominating NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg. And I found a list of 19 independents that are running - none of whom I've ever heard of.
And don't forget, Ralph Nader is still alive and out there somewhere...